Communications: News

Dr. Brian Bunkers Named Minnesota's 2006 Family Physician of the Year

Thursday, April 27, 2006  
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The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians (MAFP) has named Brian Bunkers, M.D., of Owatonna, as its 2006 Family Physician of the Year. This award is presented annually to a family physician who represents the highest ideals of the specialty of family medicine, including caring, comprehensive medical service, community involvement and service as a role model.

Twenty-five family doctors from across the state were nominated for the award by patients, community members and co-workers. Six finalists were selected from the field of nominees. Along with Dr. Bunkers, they included Dr. Craig Gilbertson, Duluth; Dr. Brian Livermore, Bemidji; Dr. Richard Mulder, Ivanhoe; Dr. Michael Rath, Mankato; and Dr. Neil Skogerobe, Bemidji. After reviewing dozens of nomination letters, the MAFP Board of Directors chose Dr. Bunkers as the winner. The award was presented to him during the President’s Dinner on Thursday, April 20, 2006, at the Hyatt Regency Hotel in Minneapolis.

"It’s really humbling because I really don’t think that what I do is that special or that different,” Dr. Bunkers said. But it is really gratifying to know that people are really appreciative of that.”

Dr. Bunkers practices at the Mayo Health System-Owatonna Clinic. He was named clinic CEO in January and has been a family physician in the community for nearly 15 years. At last count, he has delivered more than 700 babies. Dr. Bunkers is married to Kari Bunkers, M.D., who is also a family physician. The couple has three children.

Patients who nominated Dr. Bunkers say he is a leader, a role model and a devoted doctor. "Being open to share your self and to get involved with people's lives, rather than just staying at a professional distance. I think that is kind of rare.” said patient John Linde.

Patient Scott McCauley praised Dr. Bunker’s genuine concern for his patients. "He knows what activities my kids are in and he’ll talk about that,” said McCauley. "I think that helps our relationship with him and what makes us feel so comfortable and so blessed to have him as our doctor.”

Aside from his busy practice, Dr. Bunkers finds time to get involved in the community. He is active with Habitat for Humanity and the United Way, he serves as a team physician for several athletic teams and is on the school board at his children’s school.

When describing his career in family medicine, Dr. Bunkers said, "This is really the only job that I’ve ever envisioned myself having and quite honestly it’s the only job that I ever would want. There is no other specialty where you can maintain those relationships across generations and across time. It’s about one-to-one, person-to-person relationships.”

The Minnesota Academy of Family Physicians is a professional association of approximately 3,000 family physicians, family medicine residents and medical students organized to assist family physicians in providing quality medical care in Minnesota. The MAFP is the largest medical specialty organization in Minnesota and is a state chapter of the American Academy of Family Physicians, one of the largest national medical organizations in the United States with more than 103,000 members.

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